The focus for the second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide heading into their game against Florida-Atlantic is strictly on improving as individual players and as a team as a whole.
After watching game film of the West Virginia game, head coach Nick Saban says Bama is no where near the team it needs to be. Saban says the Tide had mistakes in all phases of the game, but he is optimistic because all the mistakes are correctable.
On the injury front: The Crimson Tide will play FAU without two starters. Wide receiver DeAndrew White has a shoulder injury and Tide head coach Nick Saban says he could miss two weeks. Then there is defensive back Jarrick Williams with a foot fracture. Saban says Williams had a screw inserted in his foot Sunday and is expected to miss four games.
At quarterback, Saban says he still sees it as a competition. He wants to get Jake Coker in this weeks game, but Blake Sims remains the starter.
Bama kicks off its home-opener against Florida-Atlantic on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
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Nick Saban Opening Statement from the UA Athletics Department:
"You know after reviewing the film of the game, it was a really good win for our team. And I think the things that were encouraging was the intangible things that we did in the game, played with a lot of effort, played with a lot of toughness, very physical in the game and I think our players really competed well in the game. When things went wrong, they hung in there and played the next play and kept competing in the game and never really got flustered or lost their poise. Examples of that would be, like not playing great on defense, but getting two huge stops inside the 10-yard line. Offense controlling the ball like they did and never really had any ball security issues and all the plays we played, the ball wasn't on the ground. And when we did turn it over, the defense that didn't play so well when we were ahead by seven points and turned it over and not great field position, you know goes three and out. We (gave up) a kickoff return for a touchdown in the game, which is obviously not a good thing, but then get the ball back with just a minute thirty or whatever, and take it down and able to convert a field goal in two minutes before the half. So all of these things are very encouraging signs for a competitive standpoint, but it is also very obvious, like a lot of first games that I saw from a lot of teams, that you need to get better execution on a more consistent basis, whether we missed the hot, we missed a block, made the wrong line call, got a negative play, made too many mental errors on defense, whether its hurry up, or we had new linebackers playing, none of that matters."
"Really we have got to have better preparation, better attention to detail, and more guys on our team able to play winning football on a consistent basis. And obviously first game experience for some guys, who haven't played a lot, is certainly monumental, in terms of them understanding and developing. So everybody's got to sort of make a commitment, coaches, players, that we got to do a little better job of getting ready to play a game not just emotionally, which that part of it was fine, but in terms of being smarter than the other team. Playing smarter, not making as many mistakes, and not giving them opportunities to make plays because of our errors. And these things are all correctable and fixable and that is certainly something that we want to focus on this week."
"We had some players of the week, Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon and Jalston Fowler, and you might say ‘well Jalston Fowler didn't carry the ball' but he did a great job of blocking, did a really good job on special teams too. Defensively Jonathan Allen, Landon Collins and Cyrus Jones all played really well, and special teams, Adam Griffith and JK Scott, the two specialist were the guys that did a really, really good job, other than that, we didn't have a whole bunch of production on special teams and only had one really negative play."
"We are really looking forward to our home opener this weekend and I know it's an early start on SEC Network. We had great fans support and was really encouraged by the enthusiasm that our fans showed in Atlanta and very hopeful that we will have a great crowd for the home opener to support this team so that we can contribute to their improvement by the atmosphere that we create. Florida Atlantic had a pretty good year last year and really got off to a pretty good start to Nebraska believe it or not, quarterback got hurt about the 26th play of the game and then they weren't nearly as good after that because he is probably the center of what they do and is a very, very effective player last year. He was a leading passer, leading rusher, leading in a lot of categories. And last year they were a very, very good defensive team. So these guys are well coached and we certainly have a lot of respect for them, but the focus is on what we need to do to make our team better. And that is what we are really going to try and focus on this week. And I think it is really important how much you improve from first game to second game, and I think the key to be being successful in this season for a lot of teams that I saw is going to be who can improve, who can make that improvement. And that is what we are really focused on."